After a slow start to the season-opener against Louisville Friday, the IU Field Hockey team turned the ship around Sunday to earn their first win of the season.
Early goals from sophomore Bente Buwalda and junior Sam Scire broke the scoring open and paced the Hoosiers to a 2-0 win over in-state rival Ball State.
“We wanted to have a strong start and to carry our intensity from Friday’s game into this one, so we’re pleased to see two goals so close together,” IU Coach Amanda Janney Misselhorn said. “It was exciting to see us match that level of energy and to have that lead to scoring chances.”
The Hoosiers picked up their preseason form Sunday as the offense dominated the Cardinal defense with two goals, 12 shots and 10 penalty corners.
Buwalda got action started for the Hoosiers in the 13th minute as senior Elle Hempt found her streaking down the right side for her first goal of the season.
IU didn’t wait much longer to pad their lead, as 50 seconds later, Scire put the ball into the net to seal the game away for the Hoosiers.
Sunday’s offensive performance continued the Hoosiers’ trend of a wide range of players getting in on the scoring. Senior Claire Woods and freshman Hailey Couch paced the Hoosiers on Friday in the season-opener.
Sunday, it was a whole new cast of players who found the net for IU.
“It’s great to see the variety of different goal scorers, and getting a field goal in both games has been a positive for us too,” Janney Misselhorn said. “Our corner unit has been excellent in the past, but getting some great field goals is a good sign for us.”
After going up 2-0, the Hoosiers kept their aggressive play going. Much to Janney Misselhorn’s delight, IU kept their foot on the gas to cruise to the first victory of the season.
Hempt called the game a battle of mental toughness as IU fended off a pesky Ball State squad.
Our midfield rotation worked well today to keep us as fresh as possible," Janney Misselhorn said. "The depth of our team is really showing.”
The defense proved stout for the Hoosiers again. The backline featuring Hempt and junior Kelsey Giese allowed just four shots on goals, protecting the net for goalkeepers freshman Shelby Querry and sophomore Sachi Ananias.
Querry, who impressed Janney Misselhorn in the season-opener, was subbed off at half in favor of Ananias who came on to complete the shutout.
“Shelby Querry and Sachi Ananias played fantastically today in goal, and Sachi stepped up in the second half to keep the lead,” Janney Misselhorn said. “The coaching staff was pleased to see the young players step up when the game pressure was on them.”
The Hoosiers dictated a majority of the gameplay on Sunday. Hempt and the defense held the Ball State offense at bay, fitting into Hempt’s game plan going in.
“We just had to play our own game, knocking the ball around back to keep the ball moving,” Hempt said. “When we found openings up the field, we did well to capitalize on those opportunities.”
The Hoosiers will make a trip familiar to many of the IU players. As preps for games in Pennsylvania against Villanova and Drexel, much of IU’s team will be making trips to their home states.
“Heading to the East Coast is exciting for all of the East Coast girls because it’s an opportunity to essentially play for a home crowd away from home,” Hempt said. “Going into the weekend with a win under our belt will be huge for our confidence in practice this week.”